Objectives: The aim of this part of the study was to determine the radiological presentation on conventional radiographs of central ameloblastomas in the Hong Kong Chinese and compare them with other reported series by a systematic review (SR).
Methods: The study had two elements, that of a complete series of all ameloblastomas presenting at a major Chinese maxillofacial surgical unit and a SR. The files of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of the University of Hong Kong between 1989 and 2000 were reviewed for ameloblastoma cases. The relevant literature was identified by electronic databases, review of citation lists and handsearching of key journals. The principal selection criterion was that the study should represent a complete collection of cases.
Results: Only 13 reports gave any radiological details. The present study of the Hong Kong Chinese contained 61 cases. With the exception of radiodensity and shape of radiolucency, the majority of the 13 other reports did not record the other radiological features that could be important in the diagnosis. The present study agreed with the synthesis of the 13 reports with regards to complete radiolucency and cortication of ameloblastomas, but disagreed with regards to other important features. The present study had a significantly higher proportion of unilocular lesions, better marginal definition, and more frequent perforation of the cortex and buccolingual expansion. Nine of the ten maxillary lesions straddled both anterior and posterior sextants with four crossing the midline, whereas only 13 of the 51 mandibular cases affected both sextants, of which eight crossed the midline. The unicystic form, which was most prevalent, appeared significantly more frequently as unilocular radiolucencies in comparison with the non-unicystic forms. The frequencies of unicystic forms and unilocular presentations were significantly greater in the young. The lesions in the young were significantly sited solely in the posterior sextant. The lower border of the mandible was reached and affected by ameloblastoma in 36 cases in the present report. It was displaced and thinned in 15 cases whereas in just five it was at least partially undisplaced with the lesion expanding down past it either buccally or lingually to it. The unicystic form was significantly more associated with root resorption, tooth displacement and crowns of unerupted teeth.
Conclusions: Radiologically, ameloblastomas in the Hong Kong Chinese differ significantly with regards to many features. This can be in part explained by the higher proportion of the unicystic form.